"Sell more." "Sell faster." These might be the laws of the art of sales, but they’re not great sales goal examples. Your business might be headed in a great new direction, and there might be a fantastic vision behind it, but without well-chosen, well-articulated sales goals, your sales team won’t be equipped to get you where you want to be.
We’ve spoken recently about the value of motivation in sales and how essential organizing your methods and objectives is to the success of a business. Sales goals combine the two: they help fire up your sales team while improving the likelihood that, with everyone pulling together, you meet those goals.
What, then, do ideal sales goals look like? To give you an idea, we’ve put together this guide of 10 essential sales goal examples. We’ll show you what they are, why they’re important, and what resources you need to ensure that your team can fulfill them.
What Are Sales Goals?
Sales goals are set objectives for your sales team. These goals center on a specific sales KPI and are often tied to overarching business goals. Typical sales goal examples include increasing revenue 25% year over year or boosting customer retention 10% in 2020.
The finance department, executive leadership, and the sales team all collaborate to set sales goals that will satisfy the company’s broader vision and ambitions for growth. Once these goals are agreed upon, it is the responsibility of the sales team to translate them into measurable, achievable actions.
To help your sales team succeed, don’t establish just one big, audacious sales goal. Instead:
- Make and meet smaller goals quickly. More frequent rewards for these smaller goals boost confidence and productivity.
- Build to that larger sales goal incrementally.
Building and maintaining a network of sales goals are not always easy tasks. You don’t want your team’s approach to be excessively generalized, nor do you want to zap their motivation by giving them a bewildering array of unrelated figures to chase. Consider the organization’s broader objectives and your unique team when creating your sales goals.
The key to successful sales goal selection is to align your goals with your current resources — financial resources, human resources, and your available tech stack. As we’ll see shortly, success in chasing after ambitious sales goals often comes down to how good your tools are.
10 Sales Goal Examples for Your Sales Team
Sales goals can take many forms — from satisfying fundamental targets like monthly recurring revenue (MRR) increases or reducing churn, to considerable, more granular goals aimed at improving aspects of your actual sales process (e.g. how much time your team spends with customer data or how much sales coaching they’re getting per month).
While having a number of goals may help your team focus and find greater variety in their work, having too many can lead to confusion and spreading your resources too thin.
We’ve split our sales goal examples into a series of larger sales goals to occupy your full team’s attention, with a few to improve practices and conditions within your team. You’ll learn the fundamentals of how to set sales goals, how different goals work together, and how to strike a balance between large-scale goals and process-oriented sales goals.
Large-Scale Sales Goal Examples
We’ll refer to following sales goals examples as “large scale” because their primary impact is on your bottom-line — by targeting them as sales goals, you’ll bring in more revenue, increase your profitability, and/or find more opportunity for growth.
1. Increasing Your Monthly or Annual Revenue
Revenue targets are the fundamental sales goal example — this KPI should be one of every company’s primary sales goals. A typical sales goal example here: increase month-over-month/year-over-year revenues by 10%.
You can set targets for revenue growth as monthly or annual goals, or both. You will most likely set an overall revenue sales goal for your entire team, but you may also find it helpful to break this down into separate sales goals for each of your reps, particularly if your sales team has a very broad experience profile.
Why it’s important: Revenue is the lifeblood of your company. To ensure profitability and the potential for continued growth, a sales goal based on revenue is vital in any scheme of sales objectives you’re trying to create, and it will interact with any and all other sales goals that you set.
How to Meet This Goal
The likelihood of any goal being met can be increased simply by prioritizing it, and revenue goals should always be at or near the top of the heap. Emphasize to your team that more time should be apportioned to meeting their revenue goals than any other.
Because a revenue sales goal is so important but also requires tremendous effort, take steps to prevent your team from feeling overwhelmed. Set activity goals for each rep to make the task seem more manageable. These can include the following:
- How many demos each of them should look to arrange during a weekly period.
- How many calls each rep should aim to make per day to meet quota. Use available data to qualify your quotas. For instance, it takes 106 dials for an SDR to get 1 scheduled meeting.
Some other good activity goals, such as the number of leads your reps are qualifying, are sales goals of their own, which we’ll cover later.
A highly functional CRM system also improves your team’s chances of meeting many goals. When chasing a revenue-based sales goal, where many variables and stages are involved, it’s vital. With the right CRM system, your rep can track their goals with ease, and maintain clear awareness of the status of current prospects.
2. Reducing Customer Churn
Keeping your customers is synonymous with keeping your company afloat — and if, as is so often the case nowadays, your sales team takes on account management responsibilities as well, then keeping churn low should be another top-priority sales goal.
Customer churn is the number of customers who leave your business during a certain period. A typical sales goal example here: reduce monthly customer churn to <1%.
Why it’s important: Particularly if you are a SaaS company and your revenue is subscription-based, maintaining a low churn percentage is the difference between life and death for your company. Churn compounds quickly, and any churn rate that sits consistently above 1% will lead to an eventual stunting of your growth.
For non-SaaS companies — for whom the term “customer retention” may be preferred to “churn” — the statistic is still important to keep an eye on, particularly as the likelihood of selling to the customers you already have (60-70%) is so much higher than is the case with new customers (5-20%).
How to Meet This Goal
Meeting a broader sales goal around churn means being able to recognize and deal with the various types of churn.
One of the most common types is so-called delinquent churn. Here, customers’ subscriptions end because the card they use for payment has expired without them noticing. The risk of delinquent churn can be difficult to predict and even harder to reverse, which is why bespoke tools can come in handy.
Account churn is where customers find they can’t get the value from your product that they require. There’s no reason for them to continue with their subscription, so they leave. Account churn is the most specifically sales-related of the churn types. If you’re seeing lots of account churn, it might mean you’re targeting customers who don’t really have a need for your product.
User churn, which can be high even when revenue or account growth is healthy, is related to your product. You may not be organizing the right features in the right packages, or your product just might not be sticky enough in its current iteration.
To combat user churn, work collaboratively with your financial department to gain an understanding of customer cohorts, and identify the key moments of churn. If your sales team manages user accounts, then ensure communication channels with product development are open.
3. Increase Units Sold and Boost Profit Margins
If your company doesn’t deal with recurring revenue, then some of the most effective sales goal examples are also the simplest: units and margins. Units pertain to the number of times your product is sold; margins concern the amount of profit generated from each of your sales, often expressed as a percentage. A typical sales goal example here: increase units sold/profit margins by 10%.
Why These Are Important: The importance of shifting more units of your product is fairly self-explanatory — they help you build up the company’s wider revenue/growth target. Units also give you important information about which of your products is generating the most profit for your company, and if the price your company sells at is variable, then it can be very easily optimized.
Margins are equally important. They govern how easily you’re covering your costs with each sale and how much of that money can then be reinvested; if you’re meeting margin targets effectively, then both your pricing points and your prospect evaluation are sound. If you’re not, you might want to rethink how you’re packaging your product and who you’re pitching it towards.
How to Meet This Goal
Selling more units will require your sales team to increase activity and chase more leads. One of the best things you can do for a sales team chasing a unit-based sales goal is to help them get rid of the menial, time-consuming tasks that don’t matter — there are AI tools that specialize in this.
If your reps have margin-based sales goals, and your sales approach relies on negotiating on prices, then ensure that you’ve researched your benchmark pricing against industry norms. Give your sales team better training to lead persuasively on sales calls.
For margin-based sales goals, if you find that you’re actually realizing less than you originally forecast, be flexible and alter your goal, making changes to your other sales objectives to compensate if necessary. For example, if you’re finding it difficult to make margin goals on single sales, consider bumping up your units-sold sales goal to compensate for the shortfall, or shift emphasis toward bringing in that extra value from customer lifetime value instead.
Speaking of which . . .
4. Boost Customer Lifetime Value
Customer lifetime value involves the cash value a given customer contributes to your company over the length of their subscription with you.
Again, if your sales team handles the accounts they sell for, then increasing the total value each customer spends over their life cycle can make for an excellent sales goal. A typical sales goal example here: increase customer lifetime value by 10-20% YoY.
Why it’s important: As we noted above, making money from a customer you already have is considerably cheaper and easier than drawing the same value with new business. It costs up to five times as much to get equivalent sales with a new customer as with a current one, so drawing on your existing base really pays.
How to Meet This Goal
If your team is targeting a percentage increase in the lifetime value for existing customers, then they should aim to upsell (get customers to upgrade their current deal) and cross-sell (convince them to invest in an adjacent product or service). When helping reps form their schedule, ensure that there’s plenty of time apportioned for communicating with existing customers — sending emails with upgrade information, scheduling calls — to find out what would make upgrading worthwhile for them.
Again, the value of a good CRM and the right tools cannot be underestimated. Not every customer will present as an upsell opportunity — you’re looking for customers who have needs that match your product and who are already avid users of what they’ve got. Identifying these kinds of overlaps at scale will be extremely tough and time-consuming without the right tools.
A lifetime-value sales goal can dovetail well with a churn-reduction sales goal, so consider pairing them for mutual optimization. You can use churn-related data concerning at-risk customers and their product use habits and turn this into a direct opportunity for upselling.
5. Increase Number of Leads Qualified
There’s more to the sales cycle than just closing deals and building up revenue; keeping your pipeline well-stocked with fresh prospects is a vital part of your sales team’s job. So, building an objective around it can be highly effective. A typical sales goal example here: increase the number of leads qualified per month by 18%.
Why it’s important: Making sure you have the right number and quality of leads determines your team’s likelihood to close deals that are high in potential customer lifetime value. A sales goal based on leads qualified is an investment in your business’s future.
How to Meet This Goal
Meeting sales goals is often a question of letting your sales reps make better use of their time. As with customer lifetime value, meeting a leads-qualified sales objective rewards devotion. Apportion time during your sales team’s day for prospecting (an hour a day should do the trick). The purpose of this is to flush out high-quality leads. A lower volume of high-quality leads, where customers have higher WTP and a real need for your product, is better than a huge volume of junk leads.
Come up with a discrete process to nurture leads within the pipeline; again, integrate tools that can help you make this a smooth, streamlined process.
6. Increase Win Rates
Increasing win rates is good for your bottom line — but it’s also an excellent sales goal for bringing the best out of your individual sales reps. Win rates are a fickle thing — a flawlessly executed sales approach can still end up short of a win because of other mitigating factors. By targeting a general increase, however, you can identify your sales reps’ success in following a wider strategy and assess how well that strategy itself works.
The average win rate across all industries is 47%, with a 25% loss-to-no-decision rate. A typical sales goal example here might be to increase monthly win rates by 5%, but if you’re finding that your deals are breaking down on the cusp of success, another sales goal example might be to reduce loss-to-no-decision rates by 8%.
If you’re in a highly competitive field, a third good sales goal example might go along the lines of: reduce loss-to-competitor rates by 5%.
Why it’s important: You’ll be setting sales goals and expectations differently for every sales rep, based on skills, approach, and experience. Having a win-rate sales goal tailored to each of them helps your reps to stay on track to a personal vision of success and contribute to the wider goals at hand.
Additionally, because deals can end up in losses for no particular reason or because of competitive pressure from another company, following a win-rate sales goal can alert you to the effectiveness of your sales funnel. It can also reveal insights about the relative standing of your product (and sales approach) next to your competitors’.
How to Meet This Goal
Coach, coach, coach. If you want to target a percentage increase in win rates, focus on your reps’ weaknesses and help them improve. Give them a greater general awareness of how each phase of the sales funnel works and how they can address a prospect in each phase — how to recognize a trigger point and send the perfect follow-up email, or how to best guide a conversation during discovery.
Train your team to manage the buyer’s journey better — increasing win rates, particularly when trying to do so by cutting down no-decision losses, depends as much on when you make your approach as on what you say or how good your product is. Show your reps when the best time is to nudge a hesitant customer; move the product demo further forward in your sales cycle.
7. Lower Customer Acquisition Costs
Reducing customer acquisition costs is a worthy sales goal — one that can have an impact on both your bottom line and your sales team’s approach to internal processes (which we’ll examine further in a moment). A typical sales goal here: lower average customer acquisition cost by 8%.
Why it’s important: Customer acquisition costs refer to all the costs incurred in the process of winning new business, from sales and marketing to salaries and other overhead/expenses.
Your customer LTV must outpace your acquisition costs for your business to survive. Cutting down on CAC can also help your team meet other sales goals, such as reduced cycle times, and reduces the risk posed by churn to your business.
How to Meet This Goal
Examine your sales process to see where you’re spending the most money. Develop your buyer personas more thoroughly — are you targeting a lot of hard-to-reach prospects? Are they providing lifetime value commensurate with their costs? Generally speaking, a customer’s lifetime value should be three times their CAC. If not, you may need a change of approach, like targeting more accessible customers likely to bring in more value.
Instruct your sales reps to respond (via a follow-up email for a fresh prospect, or a call to one already in the sales funnel) to trigger events, where customers register particular interest in your product, for example by subscribing to your newsletter, sharing a blog post, or downloading a demo.
Instruct your team to use their tech stack to gauge where the most leads are coming from (e.g. emails, website landing pages, marketing content, etc.) and retarget through these areas more frequently. This is known as A/B testing and can be a lifesaver when moving away from expensive marketing channels that aren’t bringing in new customers.
Process-Oriented Sales Goal Examples
You can often make serious improvements to your sales processes by looking within; encourage your team to think of administrative and practical objectives as sales goal examples, too. Mixing well-chosen, process-oriented sales goals with broader-scope sales goals will provide a balanced set of priorities.
8. Reduce Cycle Times
Your average cycle time tells you how long it takes for your sales reps to get from lead to a deal closed-won. A sales cycle is a complex, multisegmented process, and the average length of a cycle varies both by industry and by the size of the deal involved.
Our research suggests that, in SaaS, the average sales cycle for a closed-won deal of a value greater than $20,000 is 96 days; the average sales cycle for a closed-won deal of a smaller size (<$2,000) is 14 days. A typical sales goal example here, then, would be something along the lines of: reduce cycle time by 5-8% (subject to deal type).
Why it’s important: Your cycle time ostensibly tells you everything about your sales process — how well your sales funnel is set up, how good your prospect targeting is, and how well your reps automate menial tasks to focus on selling. Reducing your cycle time will yield improvements across the board and allow your team to close deals faster.
How to Meet This Goal
Prioritize research and planning in the initial stages of your team’s sales cycle. By making this part of the cycle longer, you can make other stages shorter; you’re less likely to find yourself barking up the wrong tree with uninterested prospects, and your outreach will be more efficient.
Who you talk to at a prospect company is as important as what you say to them; try to make contact with a decision-maker at your target, and build a direct relationship. Many deals get stuck in limbo because an enthusiastic prospect doesn’t have the clearance required to sanction a subscription with you; this, by nature, leads to extended cycle times.
Automating processes will also help your team meet a number of different sales goals, and it might be most helpful for reducing cycle times, purely because it allows your team to focus more on selling.
9. Track Sales Time per Week
A very simple process-oriented sales goal example, but a potentially effective one, is gauging how much sales time your reps are logging per week. If your sales team has assumed account management responsibilities on top of the various admin and research-based tasks typically required, the time and energy they have left to give to selling will be reduced. In fact, your sales team will end up spending as little as 36% of their total time in work actually selling. A typical sales goal example here: increase weekly sales time to 50%.
Why it's important: The value of giving your team more sales time per week is self-explanatory, but by making this a sales goal, it will help you understand the flaws in your process that stop your team from having that extra time to make that extra win/qualification.
How to Meet This Goal
Embrace automation and CRM tools, as suggested elsewhere. Follow-up emails, the calculation of a sales rep’s commission and other sales cycle accounting, Excel macros, and managing data for prospects can all be delegated to automated solutions.
Learning-management software can also streamline the research process, which can be another heavy burden on a sales rep’s time. Consider establishing a knowledge-sharing database, like Tettra, where reps can easily access information on prospects banked earlier by their colleagues.
Demarcate certain periods during the week where sales gets absolute priority. Because there are hot points during a given week where most deals/progressions progress — mostly on Wednesday and Thursday — it makes sense for your team to have a stretch of quality time devoted to it.
Evaluate the ways in which your team is nurturing or qualifying leads to identify areas where methods could be made more efficient.
10. Set Activity Goals
Most of the goals we’ve looked at so far help achieve actual results, but it’s important to evaluate your reps based on pure activity, also. The yield from every month/quarter is not, unfortunately, guaranteed to be representative for all of your reps. Grading them on activity, as opposed to results, can sometimes be a more representative metric in terms of assessing their actual performance.
A typical sales goal example here: increase number of cold calls/scheduled demos/video calls by x%.
Why it’s important: A capable rep might have tough leads or indecisive prospects; times may be lean, and your rep may have had a tough period where wins were few. By evaluating a rep’s activity, you can gauge how well your process is working against real outcomes, keeping your rep motivated, approximating what they need to do to hit their targets, and maintaining the pace of activity in your pipeline.
How to Meet This Goal
Use your data. Assess customer buying habits, reassess industry benchmarks, check your progress in reducing your churn — your rep’s slow period might be down to conditions in the market, in which case, a broader change of tack is needed.
From there, evaluate your targeting. Are your buyer personas well-developed? Is this sales rep using the channels most effective for targeting these prospects? Are they trained in best practices for using them?
If, on the other hand, your rep is having individual difficulty with their activity goals, evaluate whether or not they’ve had proper coaching. Do they know how to identify prospects using their CRM? Are they clear on methods of outreach? Do they feel they have been well-trained for their role, with respect to things like best practices for phone-selling? Lowered activity from your rep is suggestive of low confidence. Nurture them!
Another reason why sales goals are all important is that they are excellent for keeping your sales team bound together — sales goals are intended to satisfy a collective aim and yet are often set and incentivized in a way that can be excessively individualized.
The most important factor when selecting among the key sales KPIs for goals that suit you is to identify which ones are best aligned to your company’s objectives, and which ones will allow your sales team to pull together to satisfy those end results. All your sales goals should, in short, culminate in one goal: a vision of success that everyone in your sales team can share.